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Help needed for new book club

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Showing 1-25 of 28 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Mar 2013, 17:52:57 GMT
Marand says:
I am hoping that forumites may be able to offer some suggestions for stimulating reads for a new book club that is starting in the village I have recently moved too. I am hosting the first meeting and it is up to me to choose the book for the first month.

It's an all-female group ranging in age from late forties to 70-ish. None of the other participants has a kindle so we'll need 'real' books. I have only limited knowledge of the group's literary tastes. Two at least tend towards the highbrow end of literary fiction and I know that a previous book group fell apart because the majority of the members were irritated by what they saw as 'lowbrow' choices provided by the somewhat domineering group leader - chick-lit, mainstream thrillers and, worst of all according to the comments I have heard, Dan Brown who seems to be a category all by himself! We have all agreed that we are open to trying things we would not otherwise have chosen.

I will admit that my starting point has been my exceedingly large 'to be read' list and I am toying with one of three: Amitav Ghosh 'The Glass Palace'; Tan Twan Eng 'The Garden of Evening Mists'; Alan Hollinghurst 'The Stranger's Child'. I am really looking for something that will stimulate discussion but not be too off-putting. I am a little worried that the Ghosh and Hollingshurst books are 500 pages+ which doesn't bother me in the least but I can see might be a little daunting.

Any thoughts you may have would be much appreciated, particularly in relation to books which have proved fruitful for discussion in book groups you have participated in.

Many thanks

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Mar 2013, 18:42:07 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Mar 2013, 18:59:57 GMT
Anita says:
Try this.

The Thirteenth Tale

For all-female group might fit, I think. Not boring, and don't be put off by "gothic" label, I would not consider it as gothic

Edit: forgot to add - as I'm most definitely not a member of any book group, so can't say anything about that

Posted on 3 Mar 2013, 18:58:24 GMT
Anita says:
Hello, no-voter, how are you? How's family and kids?

Marand - my suggestion was meant for you

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Mar 2013, 19:59:20 GMT
Marand says:
Thanks Anita - I'll take a look.

No-voting the opening post does seem daft - how can the opening post not contribute to the discussion? It comes across as bit pathetic.

Posted on 3 Mar 2013, 21:20:03 GMT
Poly says:
How about Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale, Old Filthby Jane Gardham; terrible title but an excellent book, or Behind The Scenes At The Museum by Kate Atkinson.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Mar 2013, 21:21:40 GMT
Marand says:
Thanks - the Patrick Gale is a good idea (and another on my TBR list!)

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Mar 2013, 21:33:28 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Mar 2013, 21:50:59 GMT
monica says:
These two might be suitable to a group--men? women? what difference does it make?--whose tastes you don't know: The Slaves of Solitude; Mildred Pierce. I occasionally read a book that has bullet point questions for book clubs stuck in at the back, and it seems to me that both these suggest many such questions and are intelligent & well-written and would interest both people who appreciate reasonably good writing and people who have read nothing but mass-market books.

Posted on 4 Mar 2013, 08:13:55 GMT
Ethereal says:
Maybe one of the Orange shortlisted/longlisted - considered (I use that word carefully) literary whilst being accessible ...

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Mar 2013, 08:40:21 GMT
kazzafir says:
I would recommend an "old" classic - the Weather in the Streets" by Rosamund Lehmann.
It is excellent, worth a read and discussion.

Posted on 4 Mar 2013, 18:01:38 GMT
Marand says:
Thank you all - plenty of food for thought.

I know what you mean about the literary/accessible thing. I suppose that is what I am anxious about. I think a couple of members might be up for what might be termed a 'difficult' book but I don't want to put others off right at the start. I think it will be easier after we have a got a couple of books under our belts.

Posted on 4 Mar 2013, 19:34:35 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Mar 2013, 19:35:45 GMT
F Mundo says:
How about A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley? It's a modern version of King Lear, so it's classic and new at the same time.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Mar 2013, 19:39:15 GMT
Marand says:
Thanks Frank - it would have been a great idea but three of us had already read it!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Mar 2013, 19:40:17 GMT
F Mundo says:
Oh well. It was worth a shot :)

Posted on 4 Mar 2013, 19:42:16 GMT
F Mundo says:
How about Shanghai Girls? Literary and popular women's fiction. Lots to talk about with this novel. Arranged marriages, etc.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Mar 2013, 21:16:30 GMT
Marand says:
I'll take a look - a new one on me.

Posted on 5 Mar 2013, 14:47:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Mar 2013, 14:55:54 GMT
Water for Elephants: A Novel

Secrets of the Tides

A Monster Calls (non illustrated)

Me Before You

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2013, 15:19:20 GMT
B. Knight says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2013, 19:35:17 GMT
Marand says:
At £11+ for a paperback you wouldn't have stood a chance anyway, and we wouldn't look at anything self-published or vanity-published. In addition I don't reward people who promote their books in forums where promotion is specifically not permitted by buying or recommending their books. If you wish to promote your book you may do so only on the Meet our Authors forum.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2013, 19:38:49 GMT
Marand says:
Thanks Dee - we've already decided on our first book. Polys' suggestion of Patrick Gale's 'Notes from an Exhibition' was greeted with universal enthusiasm.

Thanks to everybody for your suggestions - I have a few things for the future too.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2013, 19:59:09 GMT
F Mundo says:
That looks like a good one.

Posted on 5 Mar 2013, 23:49:13 GMT
AS says:
we have enjoyed:
The Other Hand - Chris Cleave
Pope Joan - Donna Wolfolk Cross
The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
The Birthday Boys - Beryl Bainbridge
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Margaret Attwood - we've read a couple, and have been interesting ideas behind them

Posted on 6 Mar 2013, 12:17:39 GMT
Last edited by the author on 6 Mar 2013, 12:27:07 GMT
maggie says:
My suggestion is :- My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. When I read this book it certainly made me think and ask questions.
Sam Bourne 'The Chosen One is also a very good choice.

Posted on 6 Mar 2013, 19:05:03 GMT
Daisymay says:
My book group in our village is a year old. We started with Holes by Louis Sacher which I thought was a children's book but it definitely has adult themes as well. We also enjoyed Mr Pip set in Pacific area ( Samoa?Fiji?) and uses Mr Pip from Dickens as background theme- good for Dickens bicentenary last year. Can't remember the author but he was from Australasia or NZ. We read a mixture from Jeffrey Archer, Dickens, Georgina Harding and a local history book. We currently are reading the Post Mistress by Sarah Blake.

Posted on 6 Mar 2013, 19:09:33 GMT
Daisymay says:
Sorry I forgot to say, we get all of our books via the local library- they have arrangements for book groups to borrow sufficient books, and if there are too few, in a village it is easy to share. Librarian is also very helpful with suggestions - but like you we started by asking all members to nominate a book. Using the library means that we don't need to consider the cost of the books to group members.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Mar 2013, 19:52:47 GMT
The help by Kathryn stock hart ,I was a member of an all ladies group age 38-79 this was the only book over a three year period that got a thumbs up from everyone and lots to discuss.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  15
Total posts:  28
Initial post:  3 Mar 2013
Latest post:  8 Mar 2013

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